Sep 2, 2015

The "New Normal" in Washington State

Okanogan County, WA
USA
by
Sydney Brownstone
,
The Stranger
As of August 31, the Okanogan Complex has burned more than 300,000 acres. Photo: Alex Garland
As of August 31, the Okanogan Complex has burned more than 300,000 acres. Photo: Alex Garland

[Many people are] preparing for a "new normal" in the Pacific Northwest, where communities fear that megafires will drive residents away and further erode their already-small tax base, leaving fewer people with bigger burdens of recovery. The Environmental Protection Agency predicts that Pacific Northwest wildfires will burn double the acres we've historically seen every year by mid-century if climate change continues unmitigated. In the Okanogan Highlands specifically, climate scientists predict the area burned could increase by a factor of four